October 22, 2008
Pan-Canadian student anti-war conference
January 30 to February 1, 2009
Join hundreds of students from across Canada for a pan-Canadian student anti-war conference, featuring dozens of workshops, panel discussions and debates. Help plan a cross-Canada student day-of-action to fund education, not war!
- Stop Canada's war in Afghanistan!
- Fight racism and Islamophobia!
- Resist military recruitment on campus!
Canadian Peace Alliance
Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario
For more information, visit www.acp-cpa.ca or www.cfsontario.ca
--> Calling on parliamentarians worldwide to demand that the USA unconditionally lift the blockade
ON October 29, 2008, the United Nations General Assembly will discuss and put to the vote the draft resolution "Necessity to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba".
For 16 consecutive years, this same General Assembly has approved similar resolutions by a growing and overwhelming majority. The last of these, which was put to the vote on October 30, 2007, was supported by 184 countries.
However, as was irrefutably demonstrated in the report presented by Cuba to the General Assembly on the resolution adopted last year, the government of the United States, with its customary arrogance, has ignored the express mandate of the international community and, far from ending that genocidal
policy, is intensifying it in an attempt to kill our people by means of hunger and sickness.
In the course of last year, the main targets of the blockade have been maintained and reinforced, evidenced by the systematic persecution and application of sanctions against companies and financial institutions that have or could have business with Cuba, while organizing or increasing subversive operations which, by virtue of the Bush Plan, are pursuing the
goal of overthrowing the legitimate constitutional order that has been established and endorsed by the Cuban people and initiating the re-colonization of our country.
As the international community knows full well, Cuba has recently suffered from the destruction unleashed by Hurricanes Ike and Gustav. According to preliminary figures, losses are estimated at more than five billion dollars, basically in highly sensitive areas for the population such as housing, agriculture, energy and the infrastructure.
The Cuban government, alongside the determined and selfless efforts of the vast majority of our people, is deploying all its energy so that, in the shortest time possible, we may recover from the damage inflicted, attend to the enormous needs of Cuban families, construct or reconstruct tens of thousands of houses and increase the production of foodstuffs. All of this
has to be done in the middle of the difficult conditions currently facing the world, which has been plunged into a financial crisis of unforeseeable effects for the entire planet.
In that titanic battle we are waging, we have experienced the solidarity of many contributed with donations and aid of inestimable moral and material value, despite their own shortages in some cases. The Cuban people, the exceptional protagonists of the systematic practice of solidarity, understand in their entire dimension and convey their appreciation of these selfless actions.
However, we cannot say the same about the government of the United States.
First, it offered supposed aid worth $100,000, accompanied by an in situ inspection of the damage caused by both hurricanes. The only answer we could give was that of not accepting any damage assessment commission, since our
experience accumulated during all these years has enabled us to rigorously and objectively evaluate the ravages of this kind of meteorological phenomena.
As a matter of principle, neither could Cuba accept any supposed aid from the government that has perpetuated the criminal blockade that has already lasted almost 50 years.
Cuba did not ask for help from anybody, much less the United States. Cuba did ask the government of that country to allow us to buy from American companies, under the same conditions in which these companies sell on the world market, resources needed for the country’s reconstruction. Many were the voices in the United States, including those of presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican members of Congress, influential newspapers, NGOs
and humanitarian organizations, that asked the American administration not just to lift the blockade, but something simpler: to relax its Draconian measures for a few months, including the travel ban on Cubans living in that country and the ban on remittances to their relatives in Cuba, something that, in their opinion, could have an impact on aid to the Cuban people.
Meanwhile, the government of the United States reiterated that under no circumstances would it relax the application of its criminal policy. There is no more eloquent example of the real objective of the blockade: an attempt to destroy the Revolution by causing "hunger and despair" and to undermine the support of the people, as recognized by that government on April 6, 1960. That policy, which clearly typifies the international crime of genocide, will soon observe half a century of existence.
In the face of the stubbornness and arrogance of the United States government, Cuba will continue moving forward. Fifty years of aggression and economic warfare inflicted by the greatest power known to history will never crush the will of our people. In the harsh circumstances in which we are struggling today, we shall continue working for the country's recovery so that we may conquer, as Martí desired, all justice.
The National Assembly of the Peoples’ Power of the Republic of Cuba calls on parliamentarians throughout the world to demand that the Congress and the government of the United States unconditionally lift the genocidal blockade and respect the legitimate and sovereign right of the Cuban people to build their own destiny.
Presidency of the National Assembly of People’s Power,
Republic of Cuba,
Havana, October 13, 2008.
Japan's young turn to Communist Party as they decide capitalism has let them down
With its gleaming designer stores, the world's second largest economy and an insatiable appetite for luxury labels, Japan has long been regarded as the land of the rising capitalist.
the telegraph (uk)
By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo
18 Oct 2008
But a wave of discontent among its younger workers is fuelling a change in the nation's political landscape: communism is suddenly back in fashion.
What many young Japanese view as an erosion of their economic security and employment rights, combined with years of political stagnation, are propelling droves of them into the arms of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), the nation's fourth largest political party.
New recruits are signing up at the rate of 1,000 a month, swelling its ranks to more than 415,000. Meanwhile a classic proletarian novel is at the top of the best-seller lists, and communist-themed "manga" comics are enjoying soaring success.
A further sign of disaffection among young Japanese - who in recent years have been more renowned for their political apathy than their revolutionary zeal - is the increasing frequency of rallies by workers on the streets of the capital.
Earlier this month, crowds of up to 5,000 young Japanese workers marched through the streets of central Tokyo to express their growing discontent with the government over working conditions.
And the job losses, financial insecurity and social dissatisfaction that are expected to go hand in hand with the current global credit crisis are expected to increase the ranks of the party further.
Spearheading the lurch to the Left are young Japanese in their twenties and thirties, who have become increasingly disillusioned with changes to employment laws which they blame for creating a climate of insecurity.
Some 44 per cent of country's workforce are part-time only, while a profusion of short-term contracts has created a generation of freelancers who are often between jobs.
Kimitoshi Morihara, deputy director of the Japanese Communist Party's international bureau, said: "Working conditions dramatically changed for younger generations in 2002 when new temporary working laws were introduced.
Today, more than one in three Japanese is in temporary work. They have almost no rights, no security and no future.
"The political climate in Japan is changing and more young Japanese are becoming politically aware because these issues have long been ignored by other parties." The revival of hard left politics comes as Japan faces the prospect of an general election in coming months, following the parliamentary deadlock which led to last month's sudden resignation of Yasuo Fukuda, the third prime minister in less than three years.
The country's schlerotic political system has enabled the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to hold power for an almost unbroken five decades, although its powers were critically curtailed last year when the main opposition party won control of the upper legislative chamber.
Resurgent Japanese communism is deploying all the tools of the 21st century, with the internet and on-line video sites playing a vital role.
The party's charismatic chairman, Kazuo Shii, triggered a rush of new recruits with a rousing parliamentary speech attacking the "exploitation" of young workers, which has become cult viewing among young Japanese on video websites.
With his grey salaryman suit and glasses, 54-year-old Mr Shii appears a far cry from conventional revolutionary stereotypes. However, after eight years at the helm of the party he has been propelled to prominence to become something of a media personality.
Among those who have recently come under his sway is Miki Tomohiro, a 34-year-old freelance writer from Fukutsu City, Fukuoka Prefecture. "When I saw Mr Shii speaking, I felt as if he was exposing capitalism in its crudest form," he said. "I surfed the internet to find out more about the party before joining." Oomori Shuji, 30, a temporary worker for Toyota, from Aichi Prefecture, who joined the party in June, added: "Since my graduation, I have never been fully employed. At a JCP workshop, I learned about the realities of temps hired by the day and the working poor, who are without social security or bonuses, and are often easily fired.
"The party is considerate of the plight of young people, including their jobs and living conditions. It has a concrete policy on these questions." Another sign of the growing allure of the Left is the sudden surge in popularity of a classic Japanese novel, Kanikosen - the Crab-Canning Ship - about embattled factory workers who rise up against their capitalist oppressors.
Nearly eight decades after it was written by Takiji Kobayashi, a communist who was tortured to death for his political beliefs aged 29, its sales have leapt from a slow annual trickle of 5,000 to 507,000 so far this year, unexpectedly catapulting it to the top of the nation's bestseller lists.
A "manga" comic book depicting the same Marxist tale is also winning over young Japanese, with 200,000 copies sold in a year. Kosuke Maruo, editor at East Press, which publishes the manga version, said: "The story succeeds in representing very vividly the situation of the so-called working poor today.
"They cannot become happy and they cannot find the solution to their poverty, however hard they work. Young people who are forced to work for very low wages today may have a feeling that they are in a similar position to the crew of Kanikosen." Kyudo Takahashi, 31, a freelance writer from Tokyo, attributed the popularity of the story to a growing sense of displacement among his generation.
"Kanikosen was a textbook in school but we didn't read it seriously then," he said. "Now, we're reading it again because we're frustrated with the government.
"In the book, people are exploited again and again. They are not treated like humans, more like cows at a hamburger factory. That is how many people feel today. When we find work, someone is always exploiting us. We cannot feel secure about the future."
October 19, 2008
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